Southern California Partnership for Jobs Monitoring SB1 Transportation Projects
Traffic cones, roadblocks and detours might be a nuisance to drivers now, but these are signs of progress, job creation and better routes ahead. SB1, the Road Repair and Accountability
Act of 2017, is fueling a statewide acceleration of transit and highway projects
“SB1 is a landmark investment to finally rebuild California’s aging infrastructure, which has been badly needed for decades,” said John Hakel, executive director of the Southern California Partnership For Jobs (SCPFJ). “We’ve finally found a vehicle to begin to rebuild the infrastructure development statewide. For every billion we invest in infrastructure development, it creates about 13,000 jobs a year.”
“SB1 is a landmark investment to finally rebuild California’s aging infrastructure.”
SCPFJ Executive Director
The Southern California Partnership for Jobs is a nonprofit partnership between organized labor and construction management to advocate for responsible investment projects to help fix our aging infrastructure, while creating jobs and economic growth. SB1, a voter-approved gas tax, will invest $5.4 billion annually for the next decade to fix roads and improve transit.
“SB1 is the product of a combined focus of multiple players like the SCPFJ, that represents 2,750 contractors, 90,000 union workers in all 12 Southern California Counties, whose main focus and drive for passage of SB1 was to ensure safety, mobility and economic vitality regarding the quality of life for Californians,” Hakel said.
SCPFJ’s valued partners include the International Operating Engineers Local 12 (IUOE), The Southern District Council of Laborers (LiUNA), and the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, Associated General Contractors (AGC) of California, AGC of San Diego, Engineering Contractors’ Association (ECA), Southern California Contractors Association (SCCA), and the Building Industry Association of Southern California (BIA).
The California Transportation Commission (CTC) allocates funds for the state highway system. Thus far, CTC has allocated $1.1 billion for 47 “fix-it first” projects. These projects will replace or improve 880 lane miles, 30 bridges, 474 congestion-reducing devices, and repair 83 culverts to prevent flooding on highways.
In Los Angeles/Orange County, a $98.9-million project will upgrade the median, and replace the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane and 44.5 lane miles of SR 57. Other SB1 projects include
improvements to guardrails and curb ramps on Pacific Coast Highway, reinforcements to the San Gabriel River Bridge on I-405, updates to pedestrian signage at elementary schools in Lancaster,
and sidewalk ramps and median improvements in the city of South Gate.
Hakel says funding agencies listen because SCPFJ members are vigilant about finding employment opportunities and getting projects into the pipeline efficiently. Last November when Proposition 6 threatened to repeal the gas tax, SCPFJ was one of many groups to oppose the measure.
“I have never seen a voice become so strong and so unifying as it was in pushing back against recall efforts, along with the invaluable assistance of the contractor/union community,” Hakel said. “The public wants to see the roads fixed.”
However, Hakel emphasized that SB1 is still just “a drop in the bucket” in terms of the funding needed for transportation infrastructure improvements. State officials have estimated that $130 billion is needed for the backlog of road, highway and bridge repairs. Thus, SCPFJ continues to advocate for local, county and federal funding.
“SB1 doesn’t take projects all the way to the end, so some counties are looking to putting measures on the ballot in 2020 and 2021,” Hakel said. “We have met with members of Congress on federal funding possibilities. We have been working with local, state and federal officials to see what we can do to bring financial closure to their projects.”
For more information about SCPFJ and to view transportation project videos, go to their website at rebuildsocal.org.